Swim­mers con­quer the is­land

Multisport Mecca - - News - Tessa Map­stone Tessa.Map­stone@sc­news.com.au

STAND­ING on Mooloolaba beach watch­ing as more than 60 swim­mers splashed to shore, spec­ta­tors could be for­given for think­ing it was the perfect day for a swim from Mud­jimba.

With al­most no swell and glassy wa­ter as far as the eye could see, the con­di­tions looked invit­ing.

But even the tough­est of those tak­ing part in the Is­land Char­ity Swim, start­ing at Mud­jimba and track­ing around Old Woman Is­land be­fore con­tin­u­ing on to Mooloolaba, told a story that couldn’t be seen from shore.

Ocean swim­mer Duane Can­nell said con­di­tions were not what they had seemed when he dived into the wa­ter at Mud­jimba Beach for the long­est swim event he had ever done, and his first crack at the event in sup­port of Nam­bour and Cur­rimundi spe­cial schools.

“As soon as you turned around the is­land and headed for Mooloolaba it was very choppy,” Duane said.

“The winds changed. From the beach it was quite de­ceiv­ing. Cer­tainly, when you get out there in the open wa­ter it was a to­tally dif­fer­ent story.”

Despite ex­pe­ri­enc­ing cramps for the first 3–4km, Duane pushed on and fin­ished the gru­elling 11km dis­tance in just over two hours.

“I was think­ing for the last 3km or 4km ‘I can’t wait to see that sand’,” he said.

“I was look­ing for that sand and when I saw that sand I thought ‘only a cou­ple of hun­dred more me­tres to go’.”

Wait­ing on the beach to greet Duane, and ev­ery swim­mer who emerged from the wa­ter, Joce Cull­pitt had hugs and the high­est praise for the or­di­nary peo­ple who took on the daunt­ing swim and raised huge sums of money to be able to take part.

“I ad­mire them im­mensely for do­ing what they do,” she said.

“We have some peo­ple who are com­ing up to hav­ing done it for 14 years.

“We have peo­ple like the Stunned Mul­lets who have some of our old­est swim­mers – one must be in his 80s.”

They were joined by elite ath­letes like Casey Munro (who was first on the beach in 1:55) and Nick D’Arcy, swim­mers train­ing to cross the English Chan­nel, and staff mem­bers and par­ents from Nam­bour and Cur­rimundi Spe­cial Schools.

The one thing they all had in com­mon was the fire to take on the epic chal­lenge, which Ms Cull­pitt said repli­cated the chal­lenges her daugh­ter, and other chil­dren with dis­abil­i­ties faced ev­ery day. That chal­lenge was tough, and it was painful, but min­utes af­ter emerg­ing from the wa­ter, Duane said he would prob­a­bly do it again next year.

This year’s event was co-or­di­nated by At­las Mul­tisports for the first time, with the date shift for­ward to May from Au­gust see­ing par­tic­i­pant num­bers grow by 50% on last year.

At­las’s Ja­son Crowther said he was look­ing for­ward to grow­ing the swim, while con­tin­u­ing to main­tain the com­mu­nity at­mos­phere and fundrais­ing ef­forts for the lo­cal spe­cial schools.


Miles Tol­lan had spe­cial rea­son to swim on Satur­day, with is son Os­car at­tend­ing Cur­rimundi Spe­cial School. The con­di­tions would have been a plea­sure com­pared to when he swam the English Chan­nel back in 2014, which he com­pleted in 15h 20min.

Anna Stra­chan and Brit­tany Parker.

Duane Can­nell.


Casey Munro is wel­comed by Kirsty Hig­gin­son as first swim­mer home.

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